Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a neoplasm arising from mesothelial cells lining the pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial cavities. Over 20 million people in the US are at risk of developing MM due to asbestos exposure. MM mortality rates are estimated to increase by 5-10% per year in most industrialized countries until about 2020. The incidence of MM in men has continued to rise during the past 50 years, while the incidence in women appears largely unchanged. It is estimated that about 50-80% of pleural MM in men and 20-30% in women developed in individuals whose history indicates asbestos exposure(s) above that expected from most background settings. While rare for women, about 30% of peritoneal mesothelioma in men has been associated with exposure to asbestos. Erionite is a potent carcinogenic mineral fiber capable of causing both pleural and peritoneal MM. Since erionite is considerably less widespread than asbestos, the number of MM cases associated with erionite exposure is smaller. Asbestos induces DNA alterations mostly by inducing mesothelial cells and reactive macrophages to secrete mutagenic oxygen and nitrogen species. In addition, asbestos carcinogenesis is linked to the chronic inflammatory process caused by the deposition of a sufficient number of asbestos fibers and the consequent release of pro-inflammatory molecules, especially HMGB-1, the master switch that starts the inflammatory process, and TNF-alpha by macrophages and mesothelial cells. Genetic predisposition, radiation exposure and viral infection are co-factors that can alone or together with asbestos and erionite cause MM.
Mesothelioma; Genetics; Asbestos; Erionite; SV40
We hypothesized that normal human mesothelial cells acquire resistance to asbestos-induced toxicity via induction of one or more epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)–linked survival pathways (phosphoinositol-3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin and extracellular signal–regulated kinase [ERK] 1/2) during simian virus 40 (SV40) transformation and carcinogenesis. Both isolated HKNM-2 mesothelial cells and a telomerase-immortalized mesothelial line (LP9/TERT-1) were more sensitive to crocidolite asbestos toxicity than an SV40 Tag-immortalized mesothelial line (MET5A) and malignant mesothelioma cell lines (HMESO and PPM Mill). Whereas increases in phosphorylation of AKT (pAKT) were observed in MET5A cells in response to asbestos, LP9/TERT-1 cells exhibited dose-related decreases in pAKT levels. Pretreatment with an EGFR phosphorylation or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 inhibitor abrogated asbestos-induced phosphorylated ERK (pERK) 1/2 levels in both LP9/TERT-1 and MET5A cells as well as increases in pAKT levels in MET5A cells. Transient transfection of small interfering RNAs targeting ERK1, ERK2, or AKT revealed that ERK1/2 pathways were involved in cell death by asbestos in both cell lines. Asbestos-resistant HMESO or PPM Mill cells with high endogenous levels of ERKs or AKT did not show dose-responsive increases in pERK1/ERK1, pERK2/ERK2, or pAKT/AKT levels by asbestos. However, small hairpin ERK2 stable cell lines created from both malignant mesothelioma lines were more sensitive to asbestos toxicity than shERK1 and shControl lines, and exhibited unique, tumor-specific changes in endogenous cell death–related gene expression. Our results suggest that EGFR phosphorylation is causally linked to pERK and pAKT activation by asbestos in normal and SV40 Tag–immortalized human mesothelial cells. They also indicate that ERK2 plays a role in modulating asbestos toxicity by regulating genes critical to cell injury and survival that are differentially expressed in human mesotheliomas.
mesothelioma; asbestos; toxicity; epidermal growth factor receptor; protein kinase B/AKT
New treatments are needed for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), which currently has a poor prognosis. Cellular immortalisation, one of the hallmarks of cancer, depends on the activity of a telomere length maintenance mechanism (TMM) – either telomerase or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). The TMMs are widely regarded as potential targets for cancer therapies and telomerase inhibitors have entered clinical trials. The aim of this study was to determine what proportion of MPMs use ALT and/or telomerase. Forty-three MPMs from 42 patients were examined for telomerase and ALT activity. Telomerase activity was detected by immunoaffinity purification followed by the telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP), and ALT activity was determined by the C-circle assay and by assessing telomere lengths using terminal restriction fragment analyses. We found that 43 of 43 MPMs were telomerase-positive[+] and ALT-negative[−]. Therefore, to investigate whether pleural mesothelial cells are unusually susceptible to activation of telomerase, we examined activation of the TMMs in an in vitro model of cellular immortalisation, in which normal pleural mesothelial cells were transduced with simian virus 40 (SV40) oncogenes. We found that normal mesothelial cells were TMM-negative, and that expression of the SV40 oncogenes did not directly activate telomerase or ALT. Immortalisation, which in this experimental system results from additional genetic changes that have not yet been identified, was accompanied by activation of either TMM. Therefore, pleural mesothelial cells are capable of activating either TMM in vitro, and the observation that 100% of MPMs were telomerase[+] suggests that there are factors in vivo that select for telomerase activity during oncogenesis of this tumour type. We conclude that MPM is a tumour that could be considered for anti-telomerase therapy.
Malignant mesothelioma; Telomerase; Alternative lengthening of telomeres; Immortalisation; Telomere maintenance mechanism; Pleura
The medicinal plant Withania somnifera has been used for over centuries in Indian Ayurvedic Medicine to treat a wide spectrum of disorders. Withaferin A (WA), a bioactive compound that is isolated from this plant, has anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulatory, anti-angiogenic, and anti-cancer properties. Here we investigated malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) suppressive effects of WA and the molecular mechanisms involved. WA inhibited growth of the murine as well as patient-derived MPM cells in part by decreasing the chymotryptic activity of the proteasome that resulted in increased levels of ubiquitinated proteins and pro-apoptotic proteasome target proteins (p21, Bax, IκBα). WA suppression of MPM growth also involved elevated apoptosis as evidenced by activation of pro-apoptotic p38 stress activated protein kinase (SAPK) and caspase-3, elevated levels of pro-apoptotic Bax protein and cleavage of poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP). Our studies including gene-array based analyses further revealed that WA suppressed a number of cell growth and metastasis-promoting genes including c-myc. WA treatments also stimulated expression of the cell cycle and apoptosis regulatory protein (CARP)-1/CCAR1, a novel transducer of cell growth signaling. Knock-down of CARP-1, on the other hand, interfered with MPM growth inhibitory effects of WA. Intra-peritoneal administration of 5 mg/kg WA daily inhibited growth of murine MPM cell-derived tumors in vivo in part by inhibiting proteasome activity and stimulating apoptosis. Together our in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that WA suppresses MPM growth by targeting multiple pathways that include blockage of proteasome activity and stimulation of apoptosis, and thus holds promise as an anti-MPM agent.
New and effective treatment strategies are desperately needed for malignant mesothelioma (MM), an aggressive cancer with a poor prognosis. We have shown previously that acid-prepared mesoporous microspheres (APMS) are nontoxic after intrapleural or intraperitoneal (IP) administration to rodents. The purpose here was to evaluate the utility of APMS in delivering chemotherapeutic drugs to human MM cells in vitro and in two mouse xenograft models of MM. Uptake and release of doxorubicin (DOX) alone or loaded in APMS (APMS-DOX) were evaluated in MM cells. MM cell death and gene expression linked to DNA damage/repair were also measured in vitro. In two SCID mouse xenograft models, mice received saline, APMS, DOX, or APMS-DOX injected directly into subcutaneous (SC) MM tumors or injected IP after development of human MMs peritoneally. Other mice received DOX intravenously (IV) via tail vein injections. In comparison to DOX alone, APMS-DOX enhanced intracellular uptake of DOX, MM death, and expression of GADD34 and TP73. In the SC MM model, 3X weekly SC injections of APMS-DOX or DOX alone significantly inhibited tumor volumes, and systemic DOX administration was lethal. In mice developing IP MMs, significant (p<0.05) inhibition of mesenteric tumor numbers, weight, and volume was achieved using IP administration of APMS-DOX at one-third the DOX concentration required after IP injections of DOX alone. These results suggest APMS are efficacious for the localized delivery of lower effective DOX concentrations in MM, and represent a novel means of treating intracavitary tumors.
Microparticles; Mesoporous silica; Mesothelioma; Doxorubicin; Intracavitary tumors
Because only a small fraction of asbestos-exposed individuals develop malignant mesothelioma1, and because mesothelioma clustering is observed in some families1, we searched for genetic predisposing factors. We discovered germline mutations in BAP1 (BRCA1-associated protein 1) in two families with a high incidence of mesothelioma. Somatic alterations affecting BAP1 were observed in familial mesotheliomas, indicating biallelic inactivation. Besides mesothelioma, some BAP1 mutation carriers developed uveal melanoma. Germline BAP1 mutations were also found in two of 26 sporadic mesotheliomas: both patients with mutant BAP1 were previously diagnosed with uveal melanoma. Truncating mutations and aberrant BAP1 expression were common in sporadic mesotheliomas without germline mutations. These results reveal a BAP1-related cancer syndrome characterized by mesothelioma and uveal melanoma. We hypothesize that other cancers may also be involved, and that mesothelioma predominates upon asbestos exposure. These findings will help identify individuals at high risk of mesothelioma who could be targeted for early intervention.
Members of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) family may have distinct roles in the development of cell injury and repair, differentiation and carcinogenesis. Here we show, using a synthetic small molecule MEK1/2 inhibitor (U0126) and RNA silencing of ERK1 and 2, comparatively, that ERK2 is critical to transformation and homeostasis of human epithelioid malignant mesotheliomas (MMs), asbestos-induced tumors with a poor prognosis. Whereas MM cell (HMESO) lines stably transfected with shERK1 or shERK2 both exhibited significant decreases in cell proliferation in vitro, injection of shERK2 cells, and not shERK1 cells, into immunocompromised SCID mice showed significant attenuated tumor growth in comparison to shControl cells. Inhibition of migration, invasion, and colony formation occurred in shERK2 MM cells in vitro, suggesting multiple roles of ERK2 in neoplasia. Microarray and qRT-PCR analyses revealed gene expression that was significantly increased (CASP1, TRAF1, FAS) or decreased (SEMA3E, RPS6KA2, EGF, BCL2L1) in shERK2-transfected MM cells in contrast to shControl-transfected MM cells. Most striking decreases were observed in mRNA levels of Semaphorin 3 (SEMA3E), a candidate tumor suppressor gene linked to inhibition of angiogenesis. These studies demonstrate a key role of ERK2 in novel gene expression critical to the development of epithelioid MMs. After injection of sarcomatoid human MM (PPMMill) cells into SCID mice, both shERK1 and shERK2 lines showed significant decreased tumor growth, suggesting heterogeneous effects of ERKs in individual MMs.
Asbestos; mesothelioma; extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK1/2); Mitogen activated protein kinases; gene expression
Treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) with Ranpirnase (Onconase) results in disruption of protein translation and cell apoptosis. We hypothesize that Onconase acts via down regulation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFKβ) by specific microRNAs (miRNA) and that interference of this pathway could have implications for MPM resistance to chemotherapy.
Three immortalized MPM cell lines (H2959, H2373, and H2591) were exposed to Onconase at 0–20 µg/mL. Cell counts were measured at 48 and 72 hours. Gene expression in miRNA-enriched RNA was validated by RT-PCR. The functional implications of miRNA expression were evaluated by transfecting miRNA mimics or inhibitors into MPM cell lines, and performing Matrigel™ invasion, cell proliferation, soft agar colony formation, and scratch closure assays. Effects on NFKβ expression and downstream targets including ABC transporters, BCL-xl, and IAP were assessed by RT-PCR and Western Blotting.
Treatment with 20µg/mL of Onconase significantly decreased cell count and invasion. Hsa-miR-17* was significantly upregulated and hsa-miR-30c significantly down-regulated by Onconase treatment in all cell lines. Forced expression of hsa-miR-17* mimic and hsa-miR-30c inhibitor each significantly decreased functional activity of Onconase in all assays. NFKB1(p50) expression and downstream targets were also decreased with Onconase treatment as well as with forced expression miRNA mimic and inhibitors.
Onconase treatment caused a significant decrease in cell proliferation, invasion, and in expression of certain miRNAs. Recapitulation of the resultant miRNA expression pattern with hsa-miR-17* mimic and hsa-miR-30c inhibitor resulted in downregulation of NFKB1 and reduced malignant behavior in functional assays. Thus, Onconase likely exerts its anti-tumor effect through these miRNAs.
Mesothelioma; microRNA; multidrug resistance
Osteopontin (OPN) is a multifunctional phosphoprotein with an important but poorly understood role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) pathogenesis. We hypothesize that OPN isoforms (OPNa, OPNb, and OPNc) have divergent roles in NSCLC angiogenesis and divergent impact on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion.
We examined mRNA expression using RT-PCR primers for three OPN isoforms in NSCLC and immortalized bronchial epithelial cell lines, and correlated expression with OPN secretion into media detected by ELISA. Angiogenic properties conferred by OPN isoforms were evaluated by transfecting cDNA plasmids specific to each isoform and controls into NSCLC cell lines, H153 and H358 (low endogenous OPN) and A549 and H460 (high endogenous OPN) and analyzing conditioned media on a bovine capillary endothelial (BCE) platform and measuring VEGF levels by ELISA.
OPNa mRNA expression correlated with OPN secretion in cell lines (r=0.912,p=0.0006). OPNa overexpression significantly increased tubule length compared to controls, OPNb had a similar, but less pronounced effect, while OPNc significantly decreased tubule length compared to controls in each cell line. OPNa overexpression was associated with significant increases in VEGF secretion, while OPNb had no effect and OPNc overexpression was associated with significant decreases in VEGF compared to controls in each cell line.
We demonstrated divergent effects of OPN isoforms on NSCLC angiogenesis and VEGF secretion. OPNa overexpression was associated with increased BCE tubule length and VEGF secretion, while OPNc is associated with decreases in both. These findings may lead to therapeutic strategies for selective isoform inhibition in NSCLC.
Osteopontin is a multifunctional phosphoprotein with an important but poorly understood role in non-small cell lung cancer pathogenesis. The role of the three human isoforms has not been previously reported. We demonstrate that individual osteopontin isoforms have divergent effects on non-small cell lung cancer angiogenesis with associated changes in VEGF.
SV40 has been detected prevalently in a limited panel of human tumors: mesothelioma, bone and brain tumors and lymphoma. These are the same tumor types that are specifically induced by SV40 when injected into hamsters, a finding that has raised concerns about the possible pathogenic role of SV40 in humans. Two different SV40 isolates differing in the number of 72 bp elements in the virus regulatory region, archetypal SV40 (1ESV40) which contains one 72 bp and non-archetypal (wtSV40) which contains two 72 bp, have been detected in human tumors. 1ESV40 has been prevalently detected in brain tumors; wtSV40 prevalently in mesothelioma. The apparent different cell tropism could be related to the virus (i.e., possibly to the number of 72 bp elements) and to different expression of cellular genes, known to play a critical role in SV40-mediated transformation of human cells, such as Notch-1 and c-Met. To test for possible differences in tissue tropism, we infected primary human mesothelial cells (HM) and primary human astrocytes (Ast) with 1ESV40 and with wtSV40 from two different SV40 strains, 776 and Baylor. All viruses transformed astrocytes, only wtSV40 transformed HM. Intracellular signaling of c-Met and Notch-1 were differently induced by these two viruses in HM and Ast. Differences in Notch-1 expression and signaling (i.e, downstream effectors, c-Myc, HEY-1, HES-1, and HEY-L) appeared to influence SV40-mediated transformation of primary astrocytes and mesothelial cells. Our results provide a biological rationale to the observation that 1ESV40 is prevalently detected in brain tumors and wtSV40 in mesotheliomas.
SV40; 72 bp elements; mesothelial cells; astrocytes; Notch-1
The ribonuclease ranpirnase (Onconase) has been used empirically to treat malignant mesothelioma (MM) patients, and some of them had prolonged survivals. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of the therapeutic function of ranpirnase in MM cells. The effects of ranpirnase were studied in vivo and in vitro on 2 MM cell lines (epithelioid REN and sarcomatoid PPM-Mill). We found that ranpirnase was able to inhibit NF-κB nuclear translocation, evaluated by cell fractionation and immunoblotting as well as by immunofluorescence. Also, MMP9 secretion by MM cells was decreased by ranpirnase treatment, as assessed by the reduction of metalloproteinase activity, evaluated by zymography on culture-conditioned media. Ranpirnase induced apoptosis of MM cells in vitro and in vivo, causing a powerful inhibition of MM tumor growth in SCID xenografts, determined by In Vivo Imaging System (IVIS) of tumor cells engineered by lentiviral transduction of the luciferase gene. Finally, mice treated with ranpirnase showed a significantly prolonged survival. Our data provide a mechanistic rationale to explain the beneficial antitumor activity observed in some patients treated with ranpirnase and demonstrate that ranpirnase interferes with the NF-κB pathway, thus influencing MM tumor cell invasiveness and survival. It is hoped that this information will also facilitate the identification of those patients who are more likely to benefit from this drug and will also open a new frontier for the use of this drug in tumor types other than MM.
mesothelioma; ranpirnase; NF-κB; MMP9; TNF-α
The inability to forecast outcomes for malignant mesothelioma prevents clinicians from providing aggressive multimodality therapy to the most appropriate individuals who may benefit from such an approach. We investigated whether specific microRNAs (miRs) could segregate a largely surgically-treated group of mesotheliomas into good or bad prognosis categories. A training set of 44 and a test set of 98 mesothelioma tumors were analyzed by a custom microRNA platform, along with 9 mesothelioma cell lines and 3 normal mesothelial lines. Functional implications as well as downstream targets of potential prognostic microRNAs were investigated. In both the training and test sets, hsa-miR-29c* was an independent prognostic factor for time to progression as well as survival after surgical cytoreduction. The miR was expressed at higher levels in epithelial mesothelioma, and the level of this miR could segregate patients with this histology into groups with differing prognosis. Increased expression of hsa-miR-29c* predicted a more favorable prognosis, and overexpression of the miR in mesothelioma cell lines resulted in significantly decreased proliferation, migration, invasion, and colony formation. Moreover, major epigenetic regulation of mesothelioma is mediated by hsa-miR-29c* and was demonstrated through downregulation of DNA methyltransferases as well as upregulation of demethylating genes. A single microRNA has the potential to be a prognostic biomarker in mesothelioma, and validation of these findings as well as investigation of its downstream targets may give insight for potential therapies in the future.
Plasma osteopontin (OPN) levels in advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) correlate with therapeutic response and survival, but the utility of plasma OPN for diagnosis and monitoring of early-stage NSCLC has not been investigated. We hypothesize that plasma OPN levels are elevated in early-stage NSCLC and decrease with resection.
Patients and Methods
Presurgery plasma OPN levels (in ng/mL) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in a discovery set of 60 patients with early-stage NSCLC and were compared with data from 56 cancer-free smokers. Presurgery OPN was validated in an independent cohort of 96 patients with resectable NSCLC. The presurgery levels in the latter cohort were compared with matched postsurgery levels. Perioperative OPN levels were correlated with demographics, tumor characteristics, and perioperative events. OPN was monitored during follow-up.
Discovery set presurgery NSCLC OPN (271 ± 31 ng/mL) was higher than smokers (40 ± 2 ng/mL; P = .001). Presurgery OPN was similar in the NSCLC validation cohort (324 ng/mL ± 20 ng/mL; P = .134). Postsurgery OPN (256 ng/mL ± 21 ng/mL) measured at mean of 9.8 weeks (range, 2 to 46 weeks) was lower than presurgery OPN (P = .005). Time from surgery significantly impacted postsurgery OPN: OPN ≤ 6 weeks postsurgery (303 n/mL ± 26 ng/mL) was higher than OPN greater than 6 weeks postsurgery (177 ng/mL ± 29 ng/mL; P = .003). Multivariate analysis noted correlations between albumin and creatinine to presurgery OPN and use of thoracotomy to postsurgery OPN. Recurrence rate was 5% at 29 weeks mean follow-up. OPN at recurrence was elevated from postsurgery nadir.
Plasma OPN levels are elevated in early-stage NSCLC. They are reduced after resection and appear to increase with recurrence. Plasma OPN may have utility as a biomarker in early-stage NSCLC.
Malignant mesotheliomas (MM) have a poor prognosis, largely because of their chemoresistance to anti-cancer drugs such as doxorubicin (Dox). Here we show using human MM lines that Dox activates extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1 and 2), causally linked to increased expression of ABC transporter genes, decreased accumulation of Dox, and enhanced MM growth. Using the MEK1/2 inhibitor, U0126 and stably transfected shERK1 and shERK2 MM cell lines, we show that inhibition of both ERK1 and 2 sensitizes MM cells to Dox.
U0126 significantly modulated endogenous expression of several important drug resistance (BCL2, ABCB1, ABCC3), prosurvival (BCL2), DNA repair (BRCA1, BRCA2), hormone receptor (AR, ESR2, PPARγ) and drug metabolism (CYP3A4) genes newly identified in MM cells. In comparison to shControl lines, MM cell lines stably transfected with shERK1 or shERK2 exhibited significant increases in intracellular accumulation of Dox and decreases in cell viability. Affymetrix microarray analysis on stable shERK1 and shERK2 MM lines showed more than 2-fold inhibition (p ≤ 0.05) of expression of ATP binding cassette genes (ABCG1, ABCA5, ABCA2, MDR/TAP, ABCA1, ABCA8, ABCC2) in comparison to shControl lines. Moreover, injection of human MM lines into SCID mice showed that stable shERK1 or shERK2 lines had significantly slower tumor growth rates in comparison to shControl lines after Dox treatment.
These studies suggest that blocking ERK1 and 2, which play critical roles in multi-drug resistance and survival, may be beneficial in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of MMs and other tumors.
SV40 has been detected prevalently in a limited panel of human tumors: mesothelioma, bone and brain tumors, and lymphoma. These are the same tumor types that are specifically induced by SV40 when injected into hamsters, a finding that has raised concerns about the possible pathogenic role of SV40 in humans. Two different SV40 isolates differing in the number of 72-bp elements in the virus regulatory region, archetypal SV40 (1ESV40), which contains one 72 bp, and nonarchetypal SV40 (wtSV40), which contains two 72 bp, have been detected in human tumors. 1ESV40 has been prevalently detected in brain tumors, with wtSV40 prevalently in mesothelioma. The apparent different cell tropism could be related to the virus (i.e., possibly to the number of 72-bp elements) and to different expression of cellular genes, known to play a critical role in SV40-mediated transformation of human cells, such as Notch-1 and c-Met. To test for possible differences in tissue tropism, we infected primary human mesothelial cells (HM) and primary human astrocytes (Ast) with 1ESV40 and with wtSV40 from 2 different SV40 strains, 776 and Baylor. All viruses transformed astrocytes; only wtSV40 transformed HM. Intracellular signaling of c-Met and Notch-1 was differently induced by these 2 viruses in HM and Ast. Differences in Notch-1 expression and signaling (i.e., downstream effectors, c-Myc, HEY-1, HES-1, and HEY-L) appeared to influence SV40-mediated transformation of primary astrocytes and mesothelial cells. Our results provide a biological rationale to the observation that 1ESV40 is prevalently detected in brain tumors and wtSV40 in mesotheliomas.
SV40; 72-bp elements; mesothelial cells; astrocytes; Notch-1
DNA copy number analysis was performed, using SNP mapping arrays, to fine map genomic imbalances in human malignant mesothelioma (MM) cell lines derived from primary tumors. Chromosomal losses accounted for the majority of genomic imbalances. All 22 cell lines examined showed homozygous deletions of 9p21.3, centering at the CDKN2A/ARF and CDKN2B loci. Other commonly underrepresented segments included 1p36, 1p22, 3p21-22, 4q13, 4q34, 11q23, 13q12-13, 14q32, 15q15, 18q12 and 22q12, each observed in 55%–90% of cell lines. Focal deletions of 11q23 encompassed the transcriptional repressor gene PLZF (promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger), which was validated by analysis of genomic DNA using real-time PCR. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblot analysis revealed that PLZF is greatly downregulated in MM cell lines compared to non-malignant mesothelial cells. Ectopic expression of PLZF in PLZF-deficient MM cells resulted in decreased cell viability, reduced colony formation, as well as increased apoptosis, the latter based on results of various cell death assays and the observation of increased cleavage of caspase 3, PARP and Mcl-1. These data indicate that deletions of PLZF are a common occurrence in MM and that downregulation of PLZF may contribute to MM pathogenesis by promoting cell survival.
mesothelioma; PLZF; genomic imbalances; tumor suppressors; transcription factor
Asbestos fibers cause chronic inflammation that may be critical to the development of malignant mesothelioma (MM). Two human MM cell lines (Hmeso, PPM Mill) were used in a SCID mouse xenograft model to assess time-dependent patterns of inflammation and tumor formation. After intraperitoneal (IP) injection of MM cells, mice were euthanized at 7, 14, and 30 days, and peritoneal lavage fluid (PLF) was examined for immune cell profiles and human and mouse cytokines. Increases in human MM-derived IL-6, IL-8, bFGF, and VEGF were observed in mice at 7 days postinjection of either MM line, and a striking neutrophilia was observed at all time points. Free-floating tumor spheroids developed in mice at 14 days, and both spheroids and adherent MM tumor masses occurred in all mice at 30 days. Results suggest that inflammation and cytokine production precede and may be critical to the development of MMs.
cytokines; chemokines; asbestos; inflammation; mesothelioma
Pleural malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive cancer with a very long latency and a very short median survival. Little is known about the genetic events that trigger MM and their relation to poor outcome. The goal of our study was to characterize major genomic gains and losses associated with MM origin and progression and assess their clinical significance. We performed Representative Oligonucleotide Microarray Analysis (ROMA) on DNA isolated from tumors of 22 patients who recurred at variable interval with the disease after surgery. The total number of copy number alterations (CNA) and frequent imbalances for patients with short time (<12 months from surgery) and long time to recurrence were recorded and mapped using the Analysis of Copy Errors (ACE) algorithm. We report a profound increase in CNA in the short-time recurrence group with most chromosomes affected, which can be explained by chromosomal instability associated with MM. Deletions in chromosomes 22q12.2, 19q13.32, and 17p13.1 appeared to be the most frequent events (55-74%) shared between MM patients followed by deletions in 1p, 9p, 9q, 4p, 3p and gains in 5p, 18q, 8q, and 17q (23-55%). Deletions in 9p21.3 encompassing CDKN2A/ARF and CDKN2B were characterized as specific for the short-term recurrence group. Analysis of the minimal common areas of frequent gains and losses identified candidate genes that may be involved in different stages of MM: OSM (22q12.2), FUS1 and PL6 (3p21.3), DNAJA1 (9p21.1), and CDH2 (18q11.2-q12.3). Imbalances seen by ROMA were confirmed by Affymetrix genome analysis in a subset of samples.
mesothelioma; ROMA; CGH; copy number alterations; tumor suppressors; oncogenes
Human mesothelial cells (LP9/TERT-1) were exposed to low and high (15 and 75 μm2/cm2 dish) equal surface area concentrations of crocidolite asbestos, nonfibrous talc, fine titanium dioxide (TiO2), or glass beads for 8 or 24 hours. RNA was then isolated for Affymetrix microarrays, GeneSifter analysis and QRT-PCR. Gene changes by asbestos were concentration- and time-dependent. At low nontoxic concentrations, asbestos caused significant changes in mRNA expression of 29 genes at 8 hours and of 205 genes at 24 hours, whereas changes in mRNA levels of 236 genes occurred in cells exposed to high concentrations of asbestos for 8 hours. Human primary pleural mesothelial cells also showed the same patterns of increased gene expression by asbestos. Nonfibrous talc at low concentrations in LP9/TERT-1 mesothelial cells caused increased expression of 1 gene Activating Transcription Factor 3 (ATF3) at 8 hours and no changes at 24 hours, whereas expression levels of 30 genes were elevated at 8 hours at high talc concentrations. Fine TiO2 or glass beads caused no changes in gene expression. In human ovarian epithelial (IOSE) cells, asbestos at high concentrations elevated expression of two genes (NR4A2, MIP2) at 8 hours and 16 genes at 24 hours that were distinct from those elevated in mesothelial cells. Since ATF3 was the most highly expressed gene by asbestos, its functional importance in cytokine production by LP9/TERT-1 cells was assessed using siRNA approaches. Results reveal that ATF3 modulates production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-13, G-CSF) and growth factors (VEGF and PDGF-BB) in human mesothelial cells.
mesothelioma; crocidolite asbestos; talc; titanium dioxide; gene profiling
Malignant mesotheliomas (MM) are neoplasms arising from mesothelial cells that line the body cavities, most commonly the pleural and peritoneal cavities. Although traditionally recognized as associated with occupational asbestos exposures, MMs can appear in individuals with no documented exposures to asbestos fibers, and emerging data suggest that genetic susceptibility and simian virus 40 (SV40) infections also facilitate the development of MMs. Both asbestos exposure and transfection of human mesothelial cells with SV40 large and small antigens (Tag, tag) cause genetic modifications and cell signaling events, most notably the induction of cell survival pathways and activation of receptors, and other proteins that favor the growth and establishment of MMs as well as their resistance to chemotherapy. Recent advances in high-throughput technologies documenting gene and protein expression in patients and animal models of MMs can now be validated in human MM tissue arrays. These have revealed expression profiles that allow more accurate diagnosis and prognosis of MMs. More importantly, serum proteomics has revealed two new candidates (osteopontin and serum mesothelin-related protein or SMRP) potentially useful in screening individuals for MMs. These mechanistic approaches offer new hope for early detection and treatment of these devastating tumors.
asbestos; mesothelioma; cancer; SV40
Patients with malignant mesothelioma (MM), an aggressive cancer associated with asbestos exposure, usually present clinically with advanced disease and this greatly reduces the likelihood of curative treatment. MM is difficult to diagnose without invasive techniques; the development of non-invasively detectable molecular markers would therefore be highly beneficial. DNA methylation changes in cancer cells provide powerful markers that are potentially detectable non-invasively in DNA shed into bodily fluids. Here we examined the methylation status of 28 loci in 52 MM tumors to investigate their potential as molecular markers for MM. To exclude candidate MM markers that might be positive in biopsies/pleural fluid due to contaminating surrounding non-tumor lung tissue/DNA, we also examined the methylation of these markers in lung samples (age- or environmentally-induced hypermethylation is frequently observed in non-cancerous lung). Statistically significantly increased methylation in MM vs. non-tumor lung samples was found for estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1; p=0.0002), solute carrier family 6 member 20 (SLC6A20; p=0.0022) and spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK; p=0.0003). Examination of associations between methylation levels of the 28 loci and clinical parameters suggest associations of the methylation status of metallothionein genes with gender, histology, asbestos exposure, and lymph node involvement, and the methylation status of leucine zipper tumor suppressor 1 (LZTS1) and SLC6A20 with survival.
APC; CpG islands; DNA methylation; ESR1; lung; mesothelioma; metallothionein; SLC6A20; SYK
A combination of biomarkers in a multivariate model may predict disease with greater accuracy than a single biomarker employed alone. We developed a non-linear method of multivariate analysis, weighted digital analysis (WDA), and evaluated its ability to predict lung cancer employing volatile biomarkers in the breath.
WDA generates a discriminant function to predict membership in disease vs no disease groups by determining weight, a cutoff value, and a sign for each predictor variable employed in the model. The weight of each predictor variable was the area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve minus a fixed offset of 0.55, where the AUC was obtained by employing that predictor variable alone, as the sole marker of disease. The sign (±) was used to invert the predictor variable if a lower value indicated a higher probability of disease. When employed to predict the presence of a disease in a particular patient, the discriminant function was determined as the sum of the weights of all predictor variables that exceeded their cutoff values. The algorithm that generates the discriminant function is deterministic because parameters are calculated from each individual predictor variable without any optimization or adjustment. We employed WDA to re-evaluate data from a recent study of breath biomarkers of lung cancer, comprising the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the alveolar breath of 193 subjects with primary lung cancer and 211 controls with a negative chest CT.
The WDA discriminant function accurately identified patients with lung cancer in a model employing 30 breath VOCs (ROC curve AUC = 0.90; sensitivity = 84.5%, specificity = 81.0%). These results were superior to multi-linear regression analysis of the same data set (AUC= 0.74, sensitivity = 68.4, specificity = 73.5%). WDA test accuracy did not vary appreciably with TNM (tumor, node, metastasis) stage of disease, and results were not affected by tobacco smoking (ROC curve AUC =0.92 in current smokers, 0.90 in former smokers). WDA was a robust predictor of lung cancer: random removal of 1/3 of the VOCs did not reduce the AUC of the ROC curve by >10% (99.7% CI).
A test employing WDA of breath VOCs predicted lung cancer with accuracy similar to chest computed tomography. The algorithm identified dependencies that were not apparent with traditional linear methods. WDA appears to provide a useful new technique for non-linear multivariate analysis of data.
This review article focuses on the various aspects of translational research, where research on human subjects can ultimately enhance the diagnosis and treatment of future patients. While we will use specific examples relating to the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma, it should be stressed that the general approach outlined throughout this review is readily applicable to other diseases with an underlying molecular basis. Through the integration of molecular-based technologies, systematic tissue procurement and medical informatics, we now have the ability to identify clinically applicable "genotype"-"phenotype" associations across cohorts of patients that can rapidly be translated into useful diagnostic and treatment strategies. This review will touch on the various steps in the translational pipeline, and highlight some of the most essential elements as well as possible roadblocks that can impact success of the program. Critical issues with regard to Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, data standardization, sample procurement, quality control (QC), quality assurance (QA), data analysis, preclinical models and clinical trials are addressed. The various facets of the translational pipeline have been incorporated into a fully integrated computational system, appropriately named Dx2Tx. This system readily allows for the identification of new diagnostic tests, the discovery of biomarkers and drugable targets, and prediction of optimal treatments based upon the underlying molecular basis of the disease.
PCR amplification of target molecules involves sequence specific primers that flank the region to be amplified. While this technique is generally routine, its applicability may not be sufficient to generate a desired target molecule from two separate regions involving intron /exon boundaries. For these situations, the generation of full-length complementary DNAs from two partial genomic clones becomes necessary for the family of low abundance genes.
The first approach we used for the isolation of full-length cDNA from two known genomic clones of Hox genes was based on fusion PCR. Here we describe a simple and efficient method of amplification for homeobox D13 (HOXD13) full length cDNA from two partial genomic clones. Specific 5' and 3' untranslated region (UTR) primer pairs and website program (primer3_www.cgv0.2) were key steps involved in this process.
We have devised a simple, rapid and easy method for generating cDNA clone from genomic sequences. The full length HOXD13 clone (1.1 kb) generated with this technique was confirmed by sequence analysis. This simple approach can be utilized to generate full-length cDNA clones from available partial genomic sequences.